Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Fruit Tree Project

DQ reader Jon Hui sent an e-mail asking that I mention about the relief organization he's started in Japan for victims of the recent earthquakes, but he was so eloquent that I'm just going to let him tell you:
"Living in Japan for the past four years has invariable led me to think of the people around me as friends and family, and especially as a community. So when the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis struck last month, I have been scrambling around trying to find a way to help. Living in Akita prefecture, the most unaffected prefecture in the Tohoku area, it was hard to be so close and not be able to do anything.

At first we were all told to leave the relief work to the professionals, if we went to the effected areas at that time, we'd just be getting in the way. So we stayed put, and waited until they were allowing volunteers in to help with the relief effort. About two weeks ago, a friend of mine and fellow English teacher had set himself up through official channels to make a donation delivery to one of the shelters in Miyagi. We gathered what we could and gave him a SUV full of goods to take down there. While he was down there, he asked the shelter residents what they could use the most. The overwhelming response was fresh fruit.

Since then we've been working to set up a project that aims to provide two fruits to each of the 1100 residents of the shelter for 10 days during the upcoming national holiday in Japan, April 29th to May 8th.

We were able to set up donations for residents in Japan, but up until yesterday, we were working to be able to accept donations internationally.

We've partnered with an NGO in Japan called Second Harvest Japan, whose main goals are to distribute food to the poor and needy. They have set us up an avenue of collecting international donations through their donation network.

I was wondering, if you felt our cause was worthy, if you could write a small post to put up on your blog. I know your readers to be generous people, and if people were looking for a more direct way to help some people in need in Japan, I'm hoping we could be those people.

I know our organization isn't big, we are just a group of local people who are working together to try and provide fresh produce to victims of the disasters, but we hope to raise awareness about what people in shelters want.

Any money we get would greatly benefit the people we are trying to help. We are also making sure that all money goes directly towards the project. Everything else is being funded by volunteers.

Our website is The Fruit Tree Project."

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